Last Sunday, I got dragged to the college class. The plan had been to go to youth group and then go home. I have nothing against College Park but I consider The Dwelling Place my church. I am fulfilling my last week as a sponsor for CPC and then I’m not going to be attending very much. I want to give myself fully to helping Shane get started. So, when my friend Nicole said she had to go to the college class and asked me to go, I was more than reluctant. I’d been once and got nothing out of it. (I know, I know. Church isn’t about “meeting my needs”. But why go to a class that I can’t get anything out of?) But I decided to give it one more shot. I have become really cynical and started judging church stuff really quickly, so I figured I’d go one more time. That just sealed the deal for me.

I got there and everyone was friendly enough. Then we got started and had to go around and say our names and schools. Then some guy who looked to be our age got up to speak. I guess he had spoke the week before, b/c he was asking them questions about his last….sermon? The topic was evangelism. I knew right then that I was probably not going to agree with a lot of what he said but I tried to keep an open mind.

He has a couple of guys pass out this sheet called ‘The Gospel Grid’. This paper was what he said we had to go thru when evangelising someone. It had 7 “issues” and each issue had 2-5 points under it.
Issue #1: The existence and character of God
Issue #2: The purpose of man
Issue #3: The problem of sin
Issue #4: God’s hatred for sin
Issue #5: The justice of God
Issue #6: The person and work of Christ
Issue #7: Man’s response

Each issue had Bible verses to go with the points. There are three things wrong with this paper. One: good luck getting through this entire thing if we’re sticking with the “one hit, 30 second Jesus pitch” that we’ve reduced evangelism to. Two: what if the person doesn’t believe in the Bible? Your argument is then blown to crap. And three: I could be wrong but I’m almost positive he said that people have to agree to every single point before they can become saved. Things like God is personal. God is loving. God created man for Himself. Those things are all well and good. Eventually the evangelized person will have to learn this stuff. But all that before he chooses to follow Christ?

The speaker also hit on the point that all Catholics are going to Hell. The whole tone of the sermon was that we are right, they are wrong and we have nothing to learn from “those people”. I could be completely wrong and I may have missed what he was getting at. I’m certainly not above that. As I already stated, I’m too quick to judge “church people” as of late. But if that’s the case, he wasn’t communicating very clearly. Because I was listening for something I could agree with. But most of what I heard only made me angry.

So how did I keep from storming out or saying something that I would later have to apologize for? Well, other than the fact that I don’t want to be a drama queen :-), I kept reminding myself of these things.
“This is where he’s at in his walk. He’s only been saved 3 years.”
“It’s not entirely his fault. He’s simply parroting what we’ve all been taught since we were young.”
“Ultimately, we have the same goal.”
“Chill!” 😉

At the end, he wanted us to “evangelize each other”. I looked at Nicole and said, “Wanna get out of here? We can “evangelize” each other in the car.” We bolted for the door. Once in the car, we proceeded to “evangelize” each other. Did we tell about how and why we believe in Jesus? Did we go over the Gospel Grid? No. We talked. We deepened our friendship. We loved each other. Jesus said “Love God and love others.” Until we get that figured out, we don’t need to be shoving any Gospel Grid down other’s throats.

Donald Miller shares similar thoughts in his book ‘Blue Like Jazz’.

“(O)ne of the things I had to do after God provided a church for me was to let go of any bad attitude I had against the other churches I’d gone to. In the end, I was just different….It wasn’t that they were bad (or that The Dwelling Place has it completely right), they just didn’t do it for me. I read through the book of Ephesians…..and it seemed to me that Paul did not want Christians to fight one another. He seemed to care a great deal about this, so in my mind, I had to tell my heart to love the people at the churches I used to go to, the people who were different from me. This was entirely freeing because when I told my heart to do this, my heart did it, and now I think very fondly of those wacko Republican fundamentalists, and I know that they love me too, and I know that we will eat together, we will break bread together in heaven, and we will love each other so purely it will hurt because we are family in Christ.
So here is a step-by-step formula for how you, too, can go to church without getting angry:
*Pray that God will show you a church filled with people who share your interests and values.
*Go to the church God shows you.
*Don’t hold grudges against any other churchs. God loves those churches almost as much as He loves yours.”” 😉 (parentheses mine)